Beats' picks: Duke football hosts ACC Coastal leader Pittsburgh

Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg and the offense could not get anything going Saturday, as the Blue Devils' were blanked 48-0.
Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg and the offense could not get anything going Saturday, as the Blue Devils' were blanked 48-0.

Every football game, our beat writers Cam Polo, Jake Piazza, Max Rego, Alex Jackson, Micah Hurewitz and Jonathan Levitan will be here to give you their picks for Duke's upcoming matchup, and we'll keep track of their prediction records every week. The Blue Devils welcome Pittsburgh to town for an ACC Coastal matchup against in which Duke comes in as 21-point underdogs. 

Jake Piazza: Pitt 51-10

I'm putting my trust in Kenny Pickett. The redshirt senior has thrown 26 touchdowns and three interceptions on the year, two of those coming last week against Miami. That uptick in turnovers might make it look like Pickett's in the middle of a rut, until you look over in the box score and see that he tallied 519 yards through the air and three touchdowns too. He's demonstrated tremendous chemistry with sophomore receiver Jordan Addison and together they're going to light up the scoreboard in Wallace Wade Stadium. The Panthers may be the most penalized team in the ACC, but that's not going to matter Saturday.

Max Rego: Pitt 45-21

Last week’s loss to Miami notwithstanding, Pittsburgh should continue its march towards a coastal title in Wallace Wade. The Blue Devils keep starting out behind the eight ball, leading to running back Mataeo Durant receiving less and less touches as the game rolls on. That’s obviously not the ideal formula when you’re trying to keep a high-octane passing attack off the field, so look for Pickett to get enough chances to make this a comfy win for the visitors. 

Alex Jackson: Pitt 42-20 

Here we go again. The big question of what will happen when Duke takes the field returns. Does it feel like it’s already answered? I’m sorry to any Blue Devil holdouts out there, but I would put Duke's odds of winning at slim-to-none. Holmberg is working through an injury, the teams looks demoralized and Pitt has an explosive offense. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for the Blue Devils. The one sliver that is keeping me going is the fact that Pittsburgh is coming off an embarrassing loss last weekend. They have the ability to surrender a lot of points, so if Duke can exploit that, this game may be closer than some think.

Jonathan Levitan: Pitt 38-22

At this point, throw all the numbers out the window. The Panthers are a much better team than the Blue Devils by virtually every metric, even after their puzzling loss to Miami a week ago. But with Duke back on its home field for the first time in nearly a month and in desperate need of offensive production, it’s now or never, and I think the Blue Devils stay competitive—to a certain extent, at least. It won’t be quite the homecoming Duke fans desire or even deserve, but it should be an improvement from the team’s dreadful month of October.

Micah Hurewitz: Pitt 35-6

The Blue Devils, still reeling from two consecutive blowouts, are about to line up against another quality team. At this point, optimism in Duke’s ability to score big against ACC opponents is all but gone, while it is almost certain Pickett will have a field day against the same Duke secondary that has allowed 364 and 411 passing yards over the last two games. Duke’s only hope to compete is a couple big plays to turn over possession and a Holmberg that looks like his old self, not the one that has failed to reach 200 yards in back-to-back games. I’m giving benefit of the doubt the Blue Devils find the end zone, but another crushing is looming in Durham.

Cam Polo: Pitt 35-14

It’s hard to be optimistic for this one. I still think Durant gets his usual workload, and punches it into the endzone a time or two. But this Pitt  team has played well against a challenging schedule, and looks to exploit a Duke defense that hasn’t exactly looked sharp the last couple of weeks. The Blue Devils will likely trudge off the field with one more in the loss column, with the alums in Durham for homecoming not seeing the showing they wished for.

Piazza: 6-2

Rego: 5-3

Jackson: 4-4

Levitan: 5-3

Hurewitz: 5-3

Polo: 4-4

Max Rego profile
Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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